2019 Florida Legislative Session


Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desire to look at the effectiveness of the state’s tourism-marketing arm could save the embattled state tourist agency Visit Florida for at least another year. Meanwhile, a decision must be reached before “sine die” on Friday.

House Speaker José Oliva – one of Visit Florida’s leading critics -- signaled Friday he may be willing to go along with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ request to keep it open, as the legislative session approaches the 11th hour.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF

Controversial legislation seeking to clarify how Amendment 4 is carried out continues to move through the Florida House and Senate. The Republican-backed bills are progressing over the objections of those who argue they are not necessary.

The two versions, HB-7089 and SB-7086, each passed their respective Judiciary Committees this week, with split votes along party lines.


Florida's 2019 Legislature began its 60-day session Tuesday with a new governor, new leaders, and new priorities. Gov. Ron DeSantis’ kicked things off with his first State of the State Address.

Speaking to a joint session of the House and Senate, DeSantis called for environmental protections, low taxes, big changes in education and safer schools. The speech also served as a list of what DeSantis has already accomplished in his first two months in office.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

For the past few months, a citizen’s group has been ramping up their appeal for legislation to name the new Pensacola Bay Bridge in honor of Gen. Daniel “Chappie” James, Jr.  

While the proposal has been gaining momentum, it doesn’t yet have the unanimous support needed to move forward this year.

But, backers are undeterred.


Creating new benefits for first responders dealing with job-related cancers is among the top legislative goals of Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis when the 2019 session kicks off in March.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, firefighters are at a 15 percent higher risk of cancer compared to the general population. Nationwide, Patronis says, cancer was listed as the cause of death for 70 percent of firefighters dying in the line of duty in 2016.


When the Florida Legislature returns to the Statehouse on March 5, a proposal to return the secretary of state to an elected position has emerged for a fourth time in the Senate.

Florida’s sec. of state had been elected until 2003, when a constitutional amendment shrank the Cabinet from six members to three. It’s now a position appointed by the governor.

The bill is being sponsored – again – by Jacksonville Republican Aaron Bean, who argues it would avoid “awkward” situations and conflicts of interest in election disputes.